Un­armed for­mer gang­ster to sue po­lice af­ter be­ing shot in siege

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

A MAN who was shot by armed po­lice dur­ing a siege in Birm­ing­ham is plan­ning to sue the force.

Sharif Cousins, 41, was the first per­son to be shot by a West Mid­lands Po­lice of­fi­cer for 17 years.

The ex-gang mem­ber claimed he was un­armed at the time, and no charges were brought against him in relation to the in­ci­dent.

Now Mr Cousins, who was in an in­duced coma for three weeks af­ter the shoot­ing, has said he plans to take le­gal ac­tion against the force.

He had pre­vi­ously spent 15 years in prison, in­clud­ing an eight-year term for pos­ses­sion of a firearm with in­tent to en­dan­ger life for point­ing a gun at a po­lice of­fi­cer.

He is now a youth worker and main­tains he has stayed out of trou­ble since com­ing out of prison in 2011.

The shoot­ing hap­pened in Here­ford Close, Ru­bery, last July when Mr Cousins was in a house with an­other man watch­ing mu­sic videos.

He said he left to get for his girl­friend and, cig­a­rettes when he re­turned, was con­fronted by armed po­lice in an al­ley­way.

He told BBC News: “At that point po­lice have just run out in the al­ley­way, out of nowhere – and said ‘Stop, put your hands up’, or some­thing like that. So we’ve put our hands up and then I just heard a bang.

“I’ve looked down at my chest, ob­vi­ously, and my chest is smok­ing and stuff.

“I’ve seen the flash of the gun but I didn’t ac­tu­ally be­lieve it hap­pened.

“I’m look­ing at the po­lice­man say­ing, ‘You ac­tu­ally just shot me?’”

Mr Cousins said he still suf­fered pain, could not lift his arm fully, was on four dif­fer­ent med­i­ca­tions and suf­fered from panic at­tacks.

The man he was with at the time was ar­rested for pre­vi­ous un­re­lated of­fences on the night of the shoot­ing and later sen­tenced to 16 years in prison for drugs and firearms of­fences.

“My life has been ru­ined be­cause of this episode... I’m tak­ing four med­i­ca­tions. I will prob­a­bly never be the same per­son again,” Mr Cousins said.

West Mid­lands Po­lice tem­po­rary as­sis­tant chief con­sta­ble Kenny Bell said: “We are await­ing the out­come of the In­de­pen­dent Of­fice of Po­lice Con­duct’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into last year’s firearm dis­charge. As a re­sult, we are un­able to com­ment on el­e­ments of their in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

> Sharif Cousins who was shot

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